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June 07, 2011 11:20 AM Either Europe counts or it doesn’t

By Steve Benen

Last week, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney seemed to be building much of his message around bashing Europe. He connected President Obama to Europe several times in his kickoff speech, and proceeded to blast the president for his “awfully European” policies.

With this in mind, Brad Johnson noted that at his first town-hall meeting of the year, Romney told a New Hampshire audience we should consider Europe when moving forward on energy policies.

“I also want to see us become more energy efficient. I’m told that we use almost twice as much energy per person as does a European, and more like three times as much as does a Japanese citizen. We could do a lot better.”

I happen to agree with the sentiment, and wonder if Romney realizes his own party is the reason we’re not doing better.

But putting that aside, since when does Mitt Romney care about European energy efficiency?

I’m starting to think Republicans are offering a mixed message when it comes to “the Continent.” In fact, what I’d really like at this point is some sort of guidelines of when we’re allowed to care what goes on in Europe.

If I’m hearing the GOP correctly, when Europeans embrace austerity measures, the U.S. should follow their lead, but when Europeans embrace high-speed rail, we should reject this attack on American individualism.

When Europeans embrace nuclear energy, the U.S. should follow their lead, but when Europeans embrace national health care, Americans should perceive it as radical communism.

When Europeans criticize quantitative easing, the U.S. should take their concerns seriously, but when Europeans adopt a V.A.T. system, Americans should run screaming in the other direction.

Does that sound about right?

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

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  • c u n d gulag on June 07, 2011 11:37 AM:

    Europe is no different from our own black/brown, women, and even gay folks, in that, if you agree with Republicans a nd embrace them, you are warmly greeted, and showered with cash.

    But if you disagree with them, you're just another angry sub-group who doesn't understand how embracing and inclusive Conservatism can really be because you suffer from identity politics and class warfare.

    Or something like that...

  • berttheclock on June 07, 2011 11:45 AM:

    I say, Schlagsahne, Ya! Rump steak, Nein!

  • kevo on June 07, 2011 11:47 AM:

    Stupifying the electorate prior to the election is an age-old strategy of the GOP! The monies the GOP pours into its shock and awe campaigns where mixed messages are sprinkled with the occasional outlandish lie are vast - just ask Karl Rove and the Koch Bros.

    The Republicans have found a dazed and confused, naive set of voters are most maleable, and easily directed to shallow slogans and the ballet booth to unknowingly voting against their very own interests!

    The GOP works to make these voters the majority every election cycle - what a cynical, undemocratic lot these Roveniks are! -Kevo

  • DAY on June 07, 2011 11:57 AM:

    There's some good stuff to be had over in that there Yurp- the Swedish Bikini Team, Kraut beer, for example. But the cheese and wine gives me gas, and too many of their wimmen don't shave their legs or armpits. No Thank You!

  • Danp on June 07, 2011 12:01 PM:

    but when Europeans adopt a V.A.T. system, Americans should run screaming in the other direction

    Run the other direction? Or just imitate it and call it a "Fair tax?"

  • tanstaafl on June 07, 2011 12:04 PM:

    Comparisons to other countries follow the same rule as everything else. If the Republicans do it, it is OK. If Democrats do it, it is a sign that they hate America.

    Other than that, minor quibble. I think Republicans are just fine with a V.A.T. if and only if they are the ones proposing it and it is part of a revenue neutral package lowering the income tax.

  • berttheclock on June 07, 2011 12:06 PM:

    Ah, cream and butter from Normandie - Sea salt from Brittany. Anchovies from Southern France and Eastern Spain. Blue leg chickens from Bresse. Bandon cheese from the highlands of Provence. Schlagsahne in Napoleons from either Vienna or Copenhagen. Ale from Belgium.

    But, then, .............there is Rump Steak

  • Jon on June 07, 2011 12:11 PM:

    Facts in and of themselves have little value to Conservatives. They do not follow facts to conclusions, they cherry-pick facts and arguments to match their desired results, even if the facts and arguments they pick contradict each other. It's very important to understand this, so that you can stop wasting time trying to argue logic with them.

    The most obvious example of this methodology is: taxes. The conclusion is low or no taxes are good. So lower taxes are proved necessary in a recession and when the economy is growing; when debt is low and when debt is high; in peace and in war; with high employment and high unemployment. All these disparate situations are proof that we need lower taxes. It doesn't matter to them that each argument contradicts the other, as long as they all conclude with lower taxes.

    Chinese characters in the captcha?

  • Victory on June 07, 2011 12:35 PM:

    "Europe" and "Celebrity" are interchangable with Conservatives....

    If they disagree with a celebrity (Garafalo or Penn or Baldwin, etc.) it's "Why should be pay attention to what a stupid celebrity thinks?

    If conservatives agree with a celebrity (Schwartzeneger, Kelsey Grammer, Patricia Heaton, Tom Selleck, Fred Thompson, etc.) then it's "Hey, pay attention to this celebrity!"

  • Goldilocks on June 07, 2011 1:32 PM:

    When Europeans have the five happiest nations on Earth, and 19 of the top 20 safest nations on Earth, it must be awfully nice to be European. Go suck on that, Americans.

  • berttheclock on June 07, 2011 1:49 PM:

    @Goldilocks,

    Your post would be far more effective on any right wing site. I really haven't seen very much Euro bashing on liberal sites, especially, this one, either under the guidance of Kevin Drum or Steve. A few years back, we had a regular right wing troll from just outside Philly. He was the one who spoke of 3 car garages. Wooten the Witless. He, loved to blast anything European. He was a devoted follower of the Canadian writer who believes Europe is being taken over by Muslims.

    Now, may I return to "Foyle's War", "New Tricks", books about "Monsieur Pamplemousse and his great bloodhound Pommes-Frites" and anything by Fred Vargas or even Karin Fossum and Jo Nesbo?

  • Zorro on June 07, 2011 2:07 PM:

    Shorter GOP: heads we're right, tails you're wrong.

    -Z

  • John Puma on June 07, 2011 5:13 PM:

    On any issue the GOP is entitled to, and will, flip-flop at roughly 10Mhz.

    There in one, and only one, constant in the radical-reich universe:

    The French do not have a word for entrepreneur.


  • Goldilocks on June 07, 2011 5:28 PM:

    Point taken, @berttheclock.

    My problem is I eschew right wing sites like the plague. They drive me nuts and my life would disappear too quickly if I got involved.

    However, tempting though it was, my concluding exhortation was too generic. Of course, millions of Americans love and appreciate Europe - in ways that our right wing counterparts are incapable of doing.

    Please, therefore, do not take is personally. My apologies.

  • toowearyforoutrage on June 08, 2011 12:34 PM:

    I also want to see us become more energy efficient. Im told that we use almost twice as much energy per person as does a European, and more like three times as much as does a Japanese citizen. We could do a lot better.

    I happen to agree with the sentiment, and wonder if Romney realizes his own party is the reason were not doing better.

    You misunderstand, Mr. Benen!
    Mr. Romney wants us to be more efficient at using fossil fuels.

    If made president, we'll be using triple a European's share and quadruple that of the Japanese!

    Massey, Exxon, and Haliburton won't be able to keep up.

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